I Have a Letter

So, today I got my letter for getting hormones. It’s not entirely certain that I’ll need it, but it’s reassuring to have one anyway. Even if it isn’t strictly required, it will probably make things easier. I hadn’t really been planning to wait until I got handed a letter to try to get hormones, but stuff came up (by which I mean I was depressed and school was a more immediate concern needing to be dealt with).

I keep thinking that I’ve been really lucky with transition stuff. My parents haven’t disowned me or stopped talking to me. They’re even supportive. There are actual gender specialist therapists in my city, and they have affordable rates. I can even talk to my therapist about questioning whether I am male or male-ish or just very very not-female, and they understand genderqueer/non-binary identities as being an actual thing. At first I was afraid that being entirely honest would hinder my access to medical transition (and that’ll still be my default assumption whenever I deal with someone new), but finding out that I can talk openly and honestly about my gender to my therapist has been great.

I still have mixed feelings about seeing a therapist about transition stuff. If I weren’t wanting to see a therapist about my depression anyway, I would probably just try to figure out the minimum of stuff I need to do to access legal/medical transition stuff. I could easily see myself being very unhappy with gender-based therapy if my therapist wanted me to, say, adhere more closely to gender stereotypes instead of understanding that passing isn’t the only thing that’s important. I need room to express myself, too. The previous therapist I had seen (primarily for depression, but I talked some about gender, too) was obviously trying to be helpful with respect to my gender, but he just… wasn’t. Like he would bring it up when I didn’t want to talk about it or didn’t think it was especially relevant to the topic. Whereas my current therapist seems to understand that my gender is just one facet of who I am and not the one defining characteristic that overshadows everything else. She even seems to understand that being trans is not in and of itself something which necessitates therapy, but that the way people are treated by society for being trans is something that can be therapy-worthy.

Anyway. The letter itself was kind of weird to read. It’s basically a modified version of a standard letter template thing. Some of the particular phrases used seem really odd being used to describe me, particularly the phrases “[is confident of] his need to live full-time in the male gender role” and “eventual full transition”. “Full transition” especially seems like one of those phrases cis people use. What the hell is “full transition” anyway? If I get top surgery and hormones and my legal name/gender changed on all my documents, is that “full transition”? If I later get a hysterectomy, does that mean my earlier “full transition” was not full? If I decide the current limitations of bottom surgery techniques make bottom surgery not worth getting, then does my transition count as “full”? What if I decide I just don’t want bottom surgery, even if the techniques were perfect? What if the techniques improve and I get it later–will my earlier “full transition” still be “full”?

And what is up with this implication that I am not yet “full-time”? Is medical transition considered necessary to living “full-time”? I mean, I’ve pretty much considered myself as being “full-time” for a while now (though I don’t use those words), even if I don’t pass as well as I’d like, and even if I don’t correct strangers if they misgender me. I dress like my gender all of the time, and I ask basically everyone I know to use my preferred name and pronouns. There are not any times when I dress like a gender that I am not, and there are not any times that I pretend to be a gender that I am not. If that’s not “full-time”, then what is? Do I need to actually pass to be “full-time”?

Plus the phrase “male gender role” seems weird specifically when describing me. It’s someone else describing my gender in words that I do not use while trying to conform to the binary gender system. When trying to accurately describe my gender, I usually say that I am a trans man, or close enough to make little difference, or I say that I am very very not-female. Like, it’s not so much that I need to live in a “male gender role” as I need to NOT live in a “female gender role”, and there isn’t any sort of recognized non-gendered role, so male gender role it is.

The sad thing is, trying to accurately describe my gender would probably just sound like I’m not sure of my gender to cis people. I am sure of my gender (even if there is not one simple word to describe it and I usually use a word that is only mostly correct (trans man) for simplicity’s sake). I am definitely not-female/male-ish. But an accurate and full description wouldn’t really work on a letter for hormone access, would it? They want to hear all about how you’re really, really, really sure, and you’re definitely FtM or MtF, and they’re definitely not going to face a malpractice suit for daring to give you medical treatment. So I just put up with the slight off-ness of the wording lest I invoke the wrath of the gatekeepers.

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4 thoughts on “I Have a Letter

  1. 1. Fucking gatekeepers and there cissexist ways of describing us. I definitely would just put up with it myself though. Unless you have access to informed consent, these jackasses have all the power.
    2. Have you heard the term Trans-masculine?

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  2. 1. Agree. Definitely just putting up with it, because at least I can get what I need.

    2. I’ve heard it before, but I haven’t really looked much into what it means. Where I saw it, the person was using it in a different way to how I would probably describe myself, but I don’t really know how other people use it. I’ve been thinking about writing a more in-depth post about figuring out quite what my gender identity is. I should probably do that.

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  3. Part of the problem we have is that we don’t really have the language to describe ourselves and gender in general. And the words we do have are highly inaccurate and at best give an approximation. Not to mention that the whole discourse is going on in a cissexist society, so our way of communication is based on cisgender standards to begin with. So we keep making the language evolve, and we have disagreements about even basic terms. And lacking the language to express ourselves ends up silencing us, and hurts our ability to understand ourselves, as well as express ourselves to others.

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  4. My therapist took care to write the letter in a way that respects my identity, while still keeping in line with what needed to be said (I think this letter was for getting taxes deducted on surgery or something). Most people won’t care enough to go through the trouble.

    What I’ve learned is that you don’t have to be 100% honest to everybody. They either get it or they don’t, sometimes it’s best to say yes and be a good boy. But when you DO have a chance to be honest to someone, that goes a long way.

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